Knoll cuts 7% of global workforce

Melisa D. Galvin

EAST GREENVILLE, Pa. – Knoll, an office design firm, is planning to cut about 275 jobs or 7% of its global workforce in order to deal with economic challenges and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company included the announcement in its May 20 filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We made the extremely difficult decision to eliminate a significant number of full-time positions at Knoll,” said Andrew Cogan, Knoll chairman and CEO in the filing. “While the current business environment has forced us to take this action, we do not take it lightly. We sincerely thank these individuals for their service and commitment to Knoll.”

Cogan added that new initiatives designed to help clients get back to work in their offices, combined with an aggressive e-commerce push in the work-from-home segment, are just two of the ways they are looking to adapt to the new reality and remain a vital partner to clients, the design community and distribution partners.

The company did not disclose the location of the job cuts but said they should be complete by the end of the third quarter. The move is expected to result in annualized savings of approximately $24 million.

During the last two weeks of the first quarter, Knoll had closed its plants in Italy and Buffalo, N.Y. The company’s Pennsylvania manufacturing facility was also closed for about a week, reopening March 26 after Knoll received a waiver from the state.

The company also has taken steps to reduce expenses. According to its April 27 earnings release, Knoll froze almost all open positions, canceled mid-year salary increases and suspended cash bonus accruals for the management team.

Knoll also is in the midst of a manufacturing footprint consolidation, geared toward optimizing its North American supply chain. On Jan. 16, the company  announced it would close its Grand Rapids, Mich., manufacturing facility, eliminating roughly 180 hourly and 30 salaried jobs.

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